Swimming Upstream makes the environmental crisis personal. It braids science and politics with regional and family history into a story of one woman’s coming to terms with her and our reality. The main character, Mary Beth, is a retired High School Science teacher from paper-mill country in Maine. As she prepares for a public lecture about the Androscoggin River, our hero, played by two singers, is torn between her intellect and her emotions, between life and death. For soprano, mezzo-soprano, actor, flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello. 20 minutes. version 1 2018. version 2 coming in 2021.
Text by the composer, the US EPA website, Virginia Tech’s website about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and oral history audio recordings. V. 1 was commissioned by the Association for the Promotion of New Music and made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.